Atletico Madrid vs Eibar Live: Get statistics for the Atletico Madrid vs. Eibar 2018/2019 Spanish Primera División football match.Huesca look doomed at the bottom of the table and Rayo Vallecano, five points adrift of safety, may have left themselves with too much to do, even if they win at home to Huesca on Saturday.
Many were surprised when the answer to Barca came back a no.
The world’s star players rarely turn down its most glamourous clubs and after four years at Atletico, Griezmann could have been forgiven for feeling his time had come.
Perhaps it had. Atletico trail their opponents this weekend by eight points in the league and their hopes of playing in the Champions League final at their own Wanda Metropolitano were dashed last month, after a last-16 defeat to Juventus.
The expectation is that a disappointing season will be followed by a string of departures.
Bayern Munich have already announced the signing of Lucas Hernandez while Diego Godin, Filipe Luis, Jan Oblak, Jose Gimenez, Thomas Partey and Saul Niguez have all been linked with exits.
But, along with Oblak, currently perhaps the world’s finest goalkeeper, Griezmann would be the hardest to absorb.
“I cannot imagine the next season without him because he has a contract with the club,” Simeone said last week.
“Antoine will remain with Atleti, for sure,” said the club’s president Enrique Cerezo.
Barcelona’s interest appears to have cooled, perhaps given the improved performances from Ousmane Dembele or perhaps because their pride simply prevents them from going back again.
But for Griezmann, who turned 27 last month, another year like this is surely out of the question.
Most would consider him behind only Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of talent, and even if Barca have moved on, other elite clubs would surely be keen.
It means Griezmann is likely to have a spring in his step tomorrow, when Atletico will hope to reduce the gap on Barca to five points with seven games left to play.
At least one will falter, giving Real Madrid a chance to move closer if they can beat Eibar and bounce back from a 2-1 defeat to Valencia on Wednesday, their first since Zinedine Zidane’s reappointment.
Madrid: Barcelona might have their eighth title in 11 years all-but sewn up but, with six games left to play, La Liga is far from finished.
Atletico Madrid are battling city rivals Real Madrid for bragging rights and second place while Sevilla, Getafe and Valencia are in a three-way scrap for the last Champions League spot.
Real Betis, Athletic Bilbao and Alaves could all make the Europa League, and at the other end of the table, seven clubs are facing the threat of relegation, with five of them separated by only three points.
Barcelona sit nine points clear of Atletico and will be confirmed as champions later this month if they beat Real Sociedad on Saturday, Alaves and then Levante at Camp Nou on April 27.
The title could be wrapped up sooner if Atletico slip up, with Diego Simeone’s side away to Eibar on Saturday before a tricky game at home to Valencia next week.Ernesto Valverde is likely to rest players to keep them fresh for their Champions League semi-final against Liverpool but it is important to maintain momentum too, not only for those two legs but also the Copa del Rey final against Valencia next month. Barca have a treble in their sights.
Madrid rivals chase second
Finishing ahead of Real Madrid for a second consecutive year might not make up for Atletico’s early exit from the Champions League or their timid title challenge but it would still be an impressive achievement for a club that continues to punch above its weight.
For Real and Zinedine Zidane, making up the four-point gap would be scant consolation for a miserable season that cannot end soon enough.
They play at home to in-form Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, when focus will again be on Zidane’s selections and any clues as to who might stay or go in the summer. Gareth Bale, left out against Leganes on Monday, looks likely to be on his way.
Sevilla look to close fourth
They were title challengers in November, doubtful to make the top four in March and now Sevilla are favourites to take the final Champions League spot ahead of Getafe, whom they visit on Sunday.
Four wins, including one over rivals Real Betis last weekend, and a draw since Joaquin Caparros swapped his role as sporting director for coach has put Sevilla one point ahead of Getafe, whose own challenge will go down as one of the most remarkable stories of the season.
Valencia are only three points back and will profit whatever the result at Coliseum Alfonso Perez, as long as they win on Sunday away at Betis.
Getafe lead Europa League charge
That qualifying for the Europa League might end up as something of a disappointment for Getafe speaks volumes for their season but, as well as Valencia, in contention for the top six are also Athletic Bilbao, Alaves and Betis.
Bilbao were facing a relegation battle after winning only one game before December but a surge under new coach Gaizka Garitano means they are now only three points off sixth.
Alaves were fighting for the top four only a few weeks ago but have tailed off while Betis might have to beat Valencia this weekend to keep their hopes of a European place alive.
Relegation fight open
Huesca look doomed at the bottom of the table and Rayo Vallecano, five points adrift of safety, may have left themselves with too much to do, even if they win at home to Huesca on Saturday.
But three points separates Real Valladolid in 18th and Girona in 14th, with Villarreal, Levante and Celta Vigo in between.
Valladolid have the most to do while Girona are highest but arguably in the worst form, closely followed by Levante, who still have Real Madrid and Atletico to play.
Villarreal have a knack of self-destructing but should survive and Celta seemingly cannot win without Iago Aspas, although he is back from suspension on Saturday, for a crunch game at home to Girona.The Decision’, also the programme’s title, took several months to materialise as a very public and protracted tug-of-war between Atletico and Barcelona left both clubs feeling aggrieved.
Griezmann might even have gone a year earlier, in the summer of 2017, when Manchester United thought he was theirs until the Frenchman opted to sign a new contract, persuaded that Atletico’s transfer ban would prevent them from buying a replacement.
But his new deal was not definitive, with a release clause included that would drop to 100 million euros 12 months later.
“Of course he can leave at some point,” said coach Diego Simeone shortly afterwards.
“I love watching my players grow, and if one of them tells me they have the unique opportunity of playing for a certain team, after they did everything they could for me, like Griezmann has done, I’ll say it’s not a problem.”
But Barcelona were too eager and Atletico reported them to Fifa for an illegal approach. Griezmann declared he would decide before the World Cup while Luis Suarez spoke about the deal as if it was already done.